There are three types of Juvenile Expungements:
- Juvenile Diversion Expungement
- Expedited Juvenile Expungement
- Normal Adult Expungement for a Juvenile
Juvenile Record Expungements
Florida law allows for the expunging or sealing of certain juvenile records. Each are dependent on the circumstances surrounding the juvenile charges and disposition.
When You Should Consider Expunging Your Child’s Juvenile Record
The main reason to expunge or seal your child’s record is to minimize the exposure your child’s record has to the outside world.
Current Florida law allows FDLE to sell juvenile records if:
- The juvenile is charged with a felony.
- Found Guilty of a felony.
- Is being prosecuted as an adult.
Misdemeanor records should remain confidential. Additionally, Juvenile records are automatically expunged upon reaching the age of 21 or 26 (depending on circumstances of the disposition) unless the juvenile commits a new offense as an adult before this automatic expungement occurs.
Juvenile record confidentiality is complex and subject to many interpretations by different government agencies. That’s why FDLE believes it can sell juvenile records and the Department of Juvenile Justice does not.
There Are Several Types of Juvenile Expungements
Florida law allows for several types of juvenile expungement proceedings. You need to understand each to know if an expungement is necessary.
Adult Expungement or Sealing
The good news is that your child can take advantage of the sealing (s. 943.059, Fla. Stat.) and expungement (s. 943.0585, Fla. Stat.) statutes. These are one time requests to the court to have an arrest record removed from the public records.
When to use this: When your child has been arrested for a felony offense and all court obligations and supervision has ended.
- It will stop FDLE from selling your child’s record.
- It gives the most comprehensive protection by law.
- Can only be used once in a lifetime.
- Juvenile supervision can last until 19th birthday which would delay the use of this option.
Qualified Diversion Juvenile Expungement
The law provides for a juvenile diversion expungement (s. 943.0582, Fla. Stat.) if your child has completed a juvenile diversion program for a non-violent misdemeanor offense.
This is a one time procedure for relief. It does not count against the ability to use the adult seal or expunge procedure (mentioned above). However, it must be completed within one year of the completion of the diversion program.
Understand that the qualified juvenile expungement only applies to records that FDLE already cannot sell (non-violent misdemeanors). This means that the record should remain confidential whether the record is expunged or not unless the juvenile criminal history is merged* with his or her adult criminal history.
- Relatively simple to do.
- Does not count towards the one-time use of the standard expungement or sealing.
- Removes the record from public disclosure should the Juvenile criminal history be merged.
- Can only be used for non-violent misdemeanors that went through diversion.
- The law already prevents the selling of this type of records (unless record is merged).
*Juvenile criminal histories are merged with the adult criminal history if the juvenile commits a new law offense after he/she becomes an adult and before the automatic expungement of juvenile records.
Automatic Expungement of Juvenile Records
Under section 943.0515, Florida Statutes, a juvenile’s record is administratively expunged upon reaching the age of 21 or 26 automatically, depending on the circumstances of the case. However, if the juvenile commits a crime as an adult, prior to either age that applies, his or her juvenile record will be merged with his or her adult record.
Note that records of felonies committed by juveniles are accessible through FDLE immediately.
This law must be considered when deciding whether to expunge your child’s arrest. If the standard expungement/sealing method must be used, you need to consider that this is a once in a lifetime benefit. It cannot be used again. How these statutes interplay must be understood before you can make an informed decision.
- Automatic so long as child does not commit new offense as adult.
- FDLE will be selling juvenile felony arrests up to the time of this expungement.
- This expungement will have no effect on felony records that were accessible prior to this expungement.
Early Automatic Expungement
As of 2017, there is a provision to allow the automatic juvenile expungement to take place before the age of 21. There is an application process for this and the information can be found on FDLE’s website.
- Will shorten the duration when FDLE is selling juvenile felony arrests.
- Relatively easy to do.
- Not automatic.
- Applicant must have turned 18 when applying.
- Applicant must not have committed a criminal offense during the 5-years prior to the application date.
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